October 10, 2017
Over the last three decades, the cost of obtaining a degree has increased significantly.
In the 1970’s students could work a minimum wage job over the summer and be able to cover their tuition for the entire school year. Now, students barely scrape by whilst doing this and taking a full-time load of courses.
However, it seems that there is a stigma surrounding whether or not going to college and getting a degree is actually valuable.
Some people genuinely believe getting a degree is now equivalent to getting a high school diploma—that it’s a minimum requirement and does not impress employers.
Others, astoundingly, are concerned about who is getting a degree rather than how many people are getting degrees.
These people view college as a way to define the population’s social class and are concerned about the legitimacy of a degree earned by a lower-class citizen and how it affects the value of degrees earned by higher-class citizens.
In their view, degrees obtained by using hard-earned money are worth more than degrees paid for by the government.
Both of these ideas are absurd. Higher education doesn’t follow the same rules of depreciation as property does. The value of education remains the same until that education is proven inaccurate.
Knowledge stays with you forever, unlike material goods. No one can take away from you what you’ve learned.
Those who link social class to degree value act like having a highly-educated society is a bad thing.
Since when has having more educated police officers, doctors, teachers and sanitation workers been a bad thing?
Those who are more educated will ask for higher salaries. But they’ll also be much more efficient, dependable and qualified. The productivity gained from hiring more highly-educated workers most definitely offsets the cost of paying them.
This is why employers are asking for applicants with degrees. They understand the principle of investing in smarter employees.
People with degrees are in higher demand than ever. As automation begins to take over labor-intensive jobs, getting a degree has become so much more important.
Jobs that once required only a high school diploma now ask for associates’ and bachelor’s degrees.
The Colorado Springs Police Department, for example, lists an associates’ degree or 60 credit hours as a requirement for applicants.
The degree doesn’t even have to be in criminal justice. The department simply asks for some higher education.
Again, employers are not making college a minimum requirement because the value of degrees are going down. They’re making it a minimum requirement because they’ve raised their standards and want more qualified and productive employees.
It’s false and damaging to society to tell people that the work they put into getting educated is just not as valuable as it used to be.
Anyone who tells you degrees are becoming worthless either has no degree, or is afraid that he or she will become less wealthy by being surrounded by college graduates.
No matter how one gets educated, knowledge will always be valuable.